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Both Labour and National responsible for growth of homelessness and poverty

By   /  January 17, 2019  /  24 Comments

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Basic benefit values were cut from 40% to 30 percent of the average wage in the early-1990s. Those cuts were dubbed Ruthenasia in recognition of the role of the then Minister of Finance of the newly-elected National Party Ruth Richardson who delivered the budget with the cuts.

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Basic benefit values were cut from 40% to 30 percent of the average wage in the early-1990s. Those cuts were dubbed Ruthenasia in recognition of the role of the then Minister of Finance of the newly-elected National Party Ruth Richardson who delivered the budget with the cuts.
Today the value of an adult “Jobseeker Support” benefit has been further reduced to only 16% of the average wage. This was achieved because under both Labour and National governments since then all benefits only increase by the movement of the Consumer Price Index not average wage movements.
A sole parent benefit has gone from over 50% of the average wage to 25%.
 In addition, the number of people accessing an unemployment benefit in relation to the household labour force survey estimate of the number of unemployed people has halved from around 100% to only 50% since 2004. Nearly all the decrease occurred under the Labour government.
Escalating housing costs are the final nail in the coffin for low wage income and beneficiary household. The lowest 20 percent of earners spent 54 percent of their income on housing in 2015, compared with just 29 percent in the late 1980s.
A class war has been waged by the very rich owners of capital on working people and the poor more generally.
The share of total household income going to families in the bottom 40 percent has fallen from 24 percent in the mid-1980s to 19 percent last year.
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About the author

Mike Treen

National Director of Unite Union


  1. Michelle says:

    Yes your right Mike both parties and their policies have done a lot of damage to many NZers especially those at the bottom but now we need one of these parties to fix the mess they created.

    • Johnnybg says:

      No we don’t Michelle as none of these parties, or any other for that matter, have any intention of rocking the business as usual boat to fix anything.


      As a radical change in direction or an anti-establishment revolution is very unlikely to take place in NZ, it’s now crystal clear to me that our nation is doomed to follow the rest of the world down the gurgler into chaos & widespread death & destruction.

      But there’s hope on the horizon folks as I’ve just got back from the mountain top where I’ve had a new revelation.

      It was revealed to me that in the not too distant future Aotearoa will be transformed into a resilient confederacy called the Aotearoan or Zealandian Confederacy. This sustainable confederation of autonomous regions will become a model for a post-globalisation world & a safe haven only for those who choose life over business as usual & death.

      This year, as the newly minted ‘Prophet of Greater Zealandia’ I will get the ball rolling by launching the ‘NZ Breakaway Movement’.

      The main purpose of this movement will be to fight for the right to establish an independent model post-globalisation homeland within Aotearoa & to eventually secede from brand globalistion NZ.

      This movement will also fight for the right for like minded others, tribes & regions to do the same. This movement will also do its best to progress the radical vision of transforming NZ into post-globalisation confederacy by putting sustainable localisation into practice in both word & deed.

      The success of this ‘Breakaway Party’ mission will depend on the support others who like me, believe the only way ahead for our many varied peoples is to plot a completely new course for our embattled & endangered Waka.

      Viva the Greater Zealandian Confederacy vision, which will come to pass.


  2. Tibby says:


    Therefore anyone advocating against slavery-like practices was fair game under the GCSB act?

  3. jay12 says:

    Labour are just neoliberalism lite with a more human face!

    • sean kearney says:

      +1 You got it……

    • Kaya3 says:

      Well if you are saying Jacinda is a bit better looking than Bridges you are correct. But otherwise, there is zero difference between the two parties. They are both neo liberal purists. This is it for quite a while, get used to it.

  4. Michelle says:

    Labour better perform for Maori or they will lose those seats just as the last lot did that went to the right. Cutting social spending and selling state houses at time when we have a shortage is very dumb short term thinking and bad policy (the national party still went ahead though) why ? they said the market will provide but it cant when it doesn’t have enough houses or people to build them. National had nine years to build houses in the nine years they have destroyed our country and divided many people.

  5. Ngungukai says:

    Real vaccum in the Maori Seats, Maori Party blew it siding with National, and Winston/NZF want to abolish the Maori Seats and Labour only pay lip service to Maori to get the votes. Room for a New Maori Party

  6. Michelle says:

    Room for a new Maori party, well this will depend on the quality of candidates they can put up, its hard to get good onto it candidates and ones that aren’t afraid to stand up for our people. Many cant cope with the environment and when they get in they forget what they are there for. I think we need to see what happens over the next two years I didn’t have any faith in Te Ururoa, he in my view is not a politician his expertise is education. He sat back and let the coalition neglect public schools where most of our Maori kids go to school he is an educationalist. He also sat back and let them sell sate houses. I use to vote for Hone he is never afraid to fight for his people he made the mistake of going with d-com and the rest is history.

  7. Trevor Sennitt says:

    The Maori Party blew their credibility by indicating they would go with Labour if elected. Those that rembered how badly Labour has treated Maori (seabed and foreshore ) voted National and others thought they may as well vote Labour to try and secure a stronger bargaining position. Labour has taken away the charter schools which were so good for those Maori lucky enough to attend and only played lip service to other causes meant to help Maori. With strong candidates like Dr Lance Sullivan they could bounce back next election and be the strong partner National needs

    • Michelle says:

      It was Helen Clarkes government that treated Maori badly over the foreshore and seabed but what did national do to make it better ? nothing! that’s what and they seem to have got away with that weak stance. We have a new government now with many new up and coming Maori politicians and some other very competent politicians like Andrew Little who cares and these people need to be given a chance its early days. National were given three terms to deliver their brighter future it never happened and now its the new coalitions turn to see if they can deliver.

  8. countryboy says:

    Yay and whoop for the likes of yourself @ Mike Treen.
    The ‘very rich’ are really just people who’re lucky enough to suffer a madness that’s also incredibly profitable. The rest of us are not so lucky. Narcissistic sociopathy is a powerful advantage other others ( And that’s 99% of us.) and it’s probably true to say that we must suffer from narcissistic sociopathy in order to understand it but if we were so inflicted, we’d never know and carry on building about us similar like minded mad bastards to bounce off, to swagger about in front of and to gloat to about how much stuff and how much money we can show off to each other that belonged to the 99% others who actually paid for it.
    Eye roll please…
    My father came up with the idea of paying a living wage to seasonal farm workers to tide them over until the seasons swung around again. Instead, those workers had to go to the Dole Office and, cap in hand, beg to get some assistance between the seasons. That’s how the urban narcissistic sociopaths insisted we must treat the rural workers of our primary industry. In the meantime, of course, the narcissistic sociopaths bloated them selves on dead easy farmer money while those farmers and everybody associated with the day to day running of actual farms struggled, and still do to this day. Is that not correct @ Big Four Banksters? The worthless Fed Farmers? Patsy to the banksters and traitors to your own people? What do you reckon?
    But we have iPhones and internet connections. We can eat them instead of farmer grown foods. When we can watch a You-tuber vacuum clean their pet duck? Sweet. No need to eat then.
    And… Of course labour and national are the same. Jesus!? Who’d a thought different? Really?
    I’ve done my humble research. I’ve asked questions. There’s no NZ/AO political party for you and me. None. Not one. Nope siree. They all suck up to the 1%er narcissistic sociopaths. Because the narcissistic sociopaths have them, you and me thinking THEY are the vital and important ones and without them? We’d be fucked.
    Let me just say; They are wrong, of course. They’re lying to you and me and I think what fools most people is that because narcissistic sociopaths are constantly lying to themselves, they become, by default, extremely proficient liars to everyone else. They come to believe their own hype, in other words.
    A fantastic British series worth watching on that subject is called “White Gold”
    (Well, I think so anyway.)


    A possible solution would be to form a mob and take direct action against the Banks.
    They’re the ones who’re behind all our financial woes which lead directly to all our societal woes. We could also lead a charge against those others of us who’ve gleefully sold us out to those foreign Banksters.
    Unfortunately, that kind of thing leads to a complete social and economic collapse, and besides, the riche scum would only scurry off at the first sight of trouble in their Gulf Streams anyway. jonky’d be in Hawaii with his pony tail collection at the drop of a pair of hair dressing scissors. He fly there in his besties Gulf Stream. ( It’s a private jet model.) Sir pete jackson’s perhaps. Sir small, hairy, hobbit with bottomless pocketses for the tax payers moneysies.
    And while that was happening? The cops and the military would be roasting our arses over an open electric heater. ( No actual fires. Climate change, remember? )
    I like the idea of a free to air TV and Radio station linking to other free to air TV and Radio Stations. An analogue Web. Fuck the internet. You’d be knee deep in Troll shit before the GCSB could say “ Say!? What the heck now? “
    And a free to air TV and Radio infrastructure would be able to be righteously defended. A much better use for a Mob, don’t you think? Defending free speech against the tyranny of fascist, sociopathic narcissists. Can’t get more righteous than that now, can you?
    Why could that not be done? Where those with wit and humour and good hearts could go and blast the scum off the commercial airwaves? I could do it with a second hand car mounted RT and a repeater for about $400.00 and get huge coverage for my dollar. So? Why is broadcasting a Rebel Pirate TV and Radio Station to enlighten the ignorant against their riche sociopathic narcissistic oppressors going to cost so much again?
    Honestly? I think we need to go down that track. Our current government and our politicians generally are polluted and toxic so lets quarantine them quick-smart within their own little brain-fart echo chambers because, as we can see, they’ve become dangerously infectious.

  9. Tiger Mountain says:

    Well described Mike

    Generating solidarity and understanding between unemployed, precarious, and fully employed workers remains difficult with NZ’s high numbers of self employed, SOEs and under 5 staff operations, and big petty bourgeois sector

    many people have “last place aversion” and blame beneficiaries “bad attitude” for their plight, rather than macroeconomic factors that affect all of us, low paid often resent beneficiaries getting any support, and as the HLFS survey shows, many go to any lengths to avoid having to interact with the punitive WINZ/MSD

    political pressure from all who can be united has to go on the new Govt. to drop its lingering support for neo liberalism and fix this generational wrong to so many of our citizens and their families

  10. Siobhan says:

    Please add the rent divide.
    “The report said the lowest 20 percent of earners spent 54 percent of their income on housing in 2015, compared with just 29 percent in the late 1980s.” (These figures are from 2016…my hunch is a rapid deterioration)

    And the Energy divide

    “100,000 households are experiencing what’s being called “energy hardship,” where they are spending more than 10 percent of their income on power.”

    And the Education divide.

    For children starting state school this year, the total cost, including fees, extracurricular activities, other necessities, transport and computers, by the time they finish year 13 in 2028 is estimated at $35,064 by education-focused savings trust Australian Scholarship Group.

    …oh heck, forget it, lets just stick with calling it a good old fashioned class divide, pure and simple.




  11. Helena says:

    I see FEMA camps on the horizon for the unemployed and homeless.

  12. sean kearney says:

    And yet people still line up to vote for these characters……makes no sense to me……

    • Michelle says:

      have a look who is voting for who I noticed a lot of our elderly vote for national especially our pakeha elderly is it because they are better of and they have benefitted from past government policies helping them into homes etc and now they don’t care about our young people who are our future. There seems to be a lot of selfishness.

  13. Andrea says:

    Single person superannuation is less than the after tax adult minimum wage.

    If the adult minimum is too little to live on…

    then what do you say to disabled people and pensioners who have no chance at all of improving their incomes?

    And still have to pay obscene amounts for power, rates/rent. health care?

    Who needs the humiliation of having to go to WINZ for ‘top ups’?

    Or is humiliation and deprivation where it’s at?

    • Katie says:

      @Andrea- They have nothing to say because it doesn’t affect them so it’s not their problem till it happens to them and then it’s ‘oh I had had no idea it was so bad!’

  14. Denny Paoa says:

    .. And unfortunately there isnt a political party or anyone worthy of been considered a leader of any political movement to address this recurring nightmare.
    Lets just focus on the collapse of Capitalism and then start again.

  15. Chris says:

    Labour passed the nat government introduced Social Security (Rewrite) Act at the end of last year. Par for the course for Labour, supporting neoliberal war-on-the-poor social welfare legislation. Labour is a bunch of duplicitous arseholes.

  16. sumsuch says:

    No fucken kidding. State the obvious. Never have I voted for either of them. Tho I enlisted and would have voted for David Cunliffe if he’d stayed the course. He was at least as hated as Corbyn i.e. right. The last 40 years has been for the rich. Can see the people were poor with their gear-work back then.

  17. Ngungukai says:

    The poor in New Zealand can not be f%$ked voting and have behavioral patterns similar to the Liverpudlian Gypsies who are travelling around the country at present.

    • sumuch says:

      Should be compulsory for the poor to vote, at least. The friends of the rich rely on them not voting — automatic illegitimisation of their ‘case’. Let the poor vote in crayon, it would make us better. They feel better than we think.

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